The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

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ZP
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The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby ZP » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:29 pm

Apologies if already known, but upon scrolling to the bottom of this page I saw some familiar Lunar Eternal Blue sprites:

http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/japandvd/japandvd.htm

Image

Looks like the book is available to buy here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0992926009/

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Shiva Indis » Fri Sep 12, 2014 4:53 pm

Wow, this is very interesting! Not easy to read, but what I can read makes me want to buy this book. The Kouji Yokota they're interviewing did monster graphics on L:EB (as the spread would suggest).

And look down there in bottom of the left page where Yokota theorizes about what became of Lunar 3 in 1996...

Thanks for posting this, ZP! I doubt I would have found out about it otherwise, no matter how much time I've spent on HG 101.
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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Fri Sep 12, 2014 7:50 pm

D'oh, I thought I'd posted to this thread but apparently I didn't submit the post, and then I refreshed and lost it. Anyway, I've now ordered both the book and the DVD and look forward to reading (and transcribing!) the Lunar sections.

Good to see you, ZP, and thanks for letting us know about this! I forwarded the link to a friend of mine who's a game journalist and he said he'd heard of the book but didn't know there was anything Lunar-related in it. So, definitely glad you posted it. ^_^

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:00 am

My copy has arrived, and while pretty much all I've done is look at the index and flip very quickly through a few pages, I can tell you based on those that there are quite a lot of references to Lunar in it. As in, the only game/series that's mentioned more (according to the index) is Dragon Quest.

I took a look at one interview which happened to discuss Working Designs and Victor Ireland briefly. I gotta say, it's frustrating to read, on that topic: "There was another story, that... [REDACTED]". As in, the word "redacted" appears in the book. Apparently some parts of the interview had to be omitted. Sigh.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Shiva Indis » Tue Sep 16, 2014 2:40 pm

Looking through the contents listed at HG101, the book devotes a lot of time to companies that spun off from Nihon Falcom, particularly Game Arts and Quintet...two companies I always want to know more about.

If this book has insight into whatever became of the Quintet staff, that's practically worth the price of admission on its own. (At least, as far as I'm concerned.) Now, I just need to get that money set aside... :mrgreen:
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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Sonic# » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:45 pm

I'll be interested to hear about the quality of the book. It's self-published, so I admit to being a little skeptical.

I wonder why the redaction happened?
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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby ZP » Wed Sep 17, 2014 9:56 pm

I placed an order for the book as well, shortly after I posted, but I went with a free postage option and haven't even had the dispatch notification yet. I'm looking forward to reading about games like Popful Mail, Monster World IV and Silpheed as well. The asking price of the DVDs seems too high, but still tempting.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Silver Phoenix » Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:53 am

Sonic# wrote:I'll be interested to hear about the quality of the book. It's self-published, so I admit to being a little skeptical.

I wonder why the redaction happened?


Probably because of Dicktor Ireland.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby ZP » Sat Sep 20, 2014 5:31 pm

Mine turned up at last. Not looked at it yet, but here's another review, with a tiny bit of into about how Popful Mail came to be, and a board game called Potato Saga...

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/the-x-button/2014-09-17/legends-untold/.78847

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Tue Jan 06, 2015 10:23 pm

By the way, most of the Lunar stuff seems to be the interviewer asking various people (who aren't in a position to know the answer) why the Phantom Sentry wasn't in EBC. Kind of an odd focus, really. Also, that scanned page with questions on Lunar 3 is strictly a developer's theory that maybe it became Magic School -- but it's clear enough that it's speculation with no more actual data than anyone else has. Honestly, the interviewer is kind of amateurish, though maybe there's more context for why he asks the questions he does on his site. I gotta wonder why he cares so much about the office layout of Game Arts, for example -- he got drawings from two or three people on this.

Sometime this year I'll try to transcribe the Lunar-relevant parts.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Leo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:02 am

Alunissage wrote:By the way, most of the Lunar stuff seems to be the interviewer asking various people (who aren't in a position to know the answer) why the Phantom Sentry wasn't in EBC. Kind of an odd focus, really. Also, that scanned page with questions on Lunar 3 is strictly a developer's theory that maybe it became Magic School -- but it's clear enough that it's speculation with no more actual data than anyone else has. Honestly, the interviewer is kind of amateurish, though maybe there's more context for why he asks the questions he does on his site. I gotta wonder why he cares so much about the office layout of Game Arts, for example -- he got drawings from two or three people on this.

Sometime this year I'll try to transcribe the Lunar-relevant parts.


What?

Phantom Sentry EBC battle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWbFxtM4NOQ

Phantom Sentry EB battle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYMMfCAA6gc

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:56 am

That's not really the one he's talking about, though. The first encounter with him in EB is atop Bandit Butte, where he has some harsh words for Lucia (who also recognizes him, more or less). A couple of sample screens:
http://lunar-net.com/eb/screens/1/image ... UE_550.jpg
http://lunar-net.com/eb/screens/1/image ... UE_544.jpg

I'm pretty sure there isn't any comparable scene in EBC. I don't recall if he has much to say the second time he's encountered, but that's in the epilogue so Lucia isn't in the party anyway.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Temzin » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:06 pm

Yes, like Alun said, that's not really him...in the US version of EB remix, they made a friendly nod to his absence by renaming one of the Guardians, like the other one in the spring. The real guy was Sieg the Risen on MCD, really the Star Dragon in disguise, who ambushes you in the mountains for a really cool fight as well as in the course of getting a Dragon's Eye. Adds to the mythos so that the path to the Blue Star isn't so...ah, out of the blue, and ups the personal stakes in the Star Tower duel. Huge mistake, like most things changed in EB remix. Not sure I'd interview anyone other than Shigema about it, though.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Leo » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:13 pm

I've yet to finish EB on Sega CD because Gens AND Kega Fusion wanna eat my saves. I made it past Borgan the last time it effed me.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Temzin » Thu Mar 12, 2015 5:57 am

Seeing as how we're talking about it anyway, I should probably take advantage of my twice-yearly visit to talk more about Sieg the Risen since he might be my favorite boss outside of Ghaleon. I loved the mountain pass duel, and I remember freaking out when I realized it was him while searching for Dragon's Eyes in the Epilogue. Without him, those long bonus dungeons just feel so barren and impersonal. He's also probably the hardest boss in the game outside of Borgan and Zophar. I think I freaked out again when I realized he was actually the Star Dragon.

First encounter:
Japanese: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8jnPf_T0N4&t=12m38s
English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0HzakuM_lY

Rematch:
Japanese: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VDorjuabiw&t=7m31s
English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDbmSiu46iE


...he also has the only pistol on the planet.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Thu Mar 12, 2015 8:18 am

Yeah, I'd described him originally as a gunslinger, but must've edited that out before posting. That was what made it truly random to me. Though perhaps it's of a piece with Lucia having spells like Napalm Shot and Plasma Rain and other things that don't fit in with the usual Lunar spells.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Temzin » Fri Mar 13, 2015 4:39 am

Alunissage wrote:Yeah, I'd described him originally as a gunslinger, but must've edited that out before posting. That was what made it truly random to me. Though perhaps it's of a piece with Lucia having spells like Napalm Shot and Plasma Rain and other things that don't fit in with the usual Lunar spells.


I love this! While, like me, I expect the designer just went for the odd pistol because he thought the marksman seemed cool, I guess if you were playfully going for the extreme, you could note that the figures connected with the Blue Star (Lucia, Star Dragon) maintain some of the old technology from "Earth" there. Likely unintentional, but still fun.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby jay_are » Fri Mar 13, 2015 5:50 am

Temzin wrote:I guess if you were playfully going for the extreme, you could note that the figures connected with the Blue Star (Lucia, Star Dragon) maintain some of the old technology from "Earth" there. Likely unintentional, but still fun.


That would make so much sense... except, have you seen the intro of Lunar 2?

http://lunar-net.com/eb/screens/1/image ... UE_046.jpg
http://lunar-net.com/eb/screens/1/image ... UE_047.jpg

Seems the people of the Blue Star fought with swords and arrows.
Napalm shot is obviously the wrong name for that spell, I don't see anyone fighting Zophar with that type of weapon...
In a way, the Star Dragon makes more sense in EBC now. UNLESS He had used a crossbow or something like that in the original EB. (Edit: instead of the gun).

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Alunissage » Mon Mar 16, 2015 5:32 am

Temzin wrote:
Alunissage wrote:Yeah, I'd described him originally as a gunslinger, but must've edited that out before posting. That was what made it truly random to me. Though perhaps it's of a piece with Lucia having spells like Napalm Shot and Plasma Rain and other things that don't fit in with the usual Lunar spells.


I love this! While, like me, I expect the designer just went for the odd pistol because he thought the marksman seemed cool, I guess if you were playfully going for the extreme, you could note that the figures connected with the Blue Star (Lucia, Star Dragon) maintain some of the old technology from "Earth" there. Likely unintentional, but still fun.

Actually, I've always figured that was intentional, that Lucia's powers all have high-tech (and destructive) names. After all, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

jay_are wrote:Seems the people of the Blue Star fought with swords and arrows.
Napalm shot is obviously the wrong name for that spell, I don't see anyone fighting Zophar with that type of weapon...

It's not that far off. The Japanese names for her spells are similar to the US ones: Spark Cannon, Satellite Bomb, Homing Cannon, Atomic Burn. And I usually assumed that the carvings in the opening are metaphorical, scaled to the technology actually known. But even if not, Althena's spell against Zophar was definitely not using a sword or bow.

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Re: The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers

Postby Sonic# » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:22 pm

Seems the people of the Blue Star fought with swords and arrows.


That is certainly possible. However, art done by anyone after the event tends to include the dressings of that culture. Hence art depicting Jesus as white and in medieval garb.
Image

Even if the art was made only a little after coming to Lunar, someone might have only understood the weapons used through similes to more common weapons - bows, arrows.

Though, one thing I like about the setting is that its origins are indeterminate. Whether the Blue Star was a high tech society of which only remnants survive, or whether Althena and Lucia were the only ones to possess that craft, all we have is the result - a distinct intermingling of magic and technology alongside age-old traditions and tools.
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"Than seyde Merlion, "Whethir lyke ye bettir the swerde othir the scawberde?" "I lyke bettir the swerde," seyde Arthure. "Ye ar the more unwyse, for the scawberde ys worth ten of the swerde; for whyles ye have the scawberde uppon you, ye shall lose no blood, be ye never so sore wounded. Therefore kepe well the scawberde allweyes with you." --- Le Morte Darthur, Sir Thomas Malory

"Just as you touch the energy of every life form you meet, so, too, will will their energy strengthen you. Fail to live up to your potential, and you will never win. " --- The Old Man at the End of Time


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